10 January 2010

Live From New York, It's A Retired Basketball Player

A few weeks ago, I promised I'd recap the James Franco SNL right after I recapped the Taylor Lautner SNL. I broke that promise. You waited, I waited, and the recap never came. But let's face it, it's in the past, and besides, now there's a chance for redemption: tonight was the first SNL of the new decade. "Yep," you're thinking, "if Becky recapped that, she'd really be on top again." I think you're probably right.

Charlie and the Laugh Factory

Charles Barkley hosted Saturday Night Live tonight, and boy was it the first episode of the year. After a Wolf Blitzer cold open ("More al qaeda!"), Barkley gave a straight-up monologue about getting arrested sometimes. After a while, he singled out the only other black person in the studio, who happened to be a nerd. After four short quarters, it was time for a Thomas Peepers Insurance commercial, which illustrated the reason I still change bras under my shirt.

Next came a game show called "Reel Quotes," in which two hopelessly uninformed competitors tried to fill in movie quotes. Barkley only answered honestly and hilariously ("Houston, we have a... Arby's," "May the force be...equal to mass times acceleration"), while Wiig wayyyy overanswered, looking like she was in the middle of the craziest hail mary play of her life. It was great.

MacGruber was a racist tonight. Despite his unfortunate small-mindedness, at least he was trying to accomodate his black friend "Darréll" by speaking jive to him. The next time we found MacGruber, he didn't know if it was okay to call a black marker "black." This made me remember the time a girl in my 5th grade class referred to a black kid as "really, really tan." By the last installment of the MacGruber saga, all I got was "Dr. Martin Rufus King" before my brain exploded along with the warehouse.

Kristen Wiig's Betty Boop Floozie went skiing with her coworkers, and Jenny Slate (HEY JENNY!) became the new second-place office lady. I'm sure it's not supposed to be an insult that they would put Jenny into the role that basically exemplified the reason Casey Wilson isn't in the cast anymore. I just wish that they would replace the sad, hateable frumpo role with something new, like a lady who gets so silently angry with jealousy that she wrecks the set unnoticed, but stands completely composed by the time people (and the camera) do notice. Sure, the girls wouldn't be able to interact really, but they don't do that now. I understand the benefits of the snl formula, but I also love the surprise that happens when regular sketches go somewhere new.

Meanwhile, wiiggly Wiig made me remember that she actually can do the sorts of things with her face that I always incorrectly assume I'm capable of doing. Then she performed a morbid striptease that morphed into a Ren & Stimpy cartoon as soon as her butt touched the pole.

A sports commentator sketch cemented my theory that the 35 minute mark will always be a sports sketch, and I'm guessing that this is all thanks to sports-crazed superfan headwriter, Seth Meyers. Which brings me to:

  • That is strange, that Giuliani would so blatantly disregard 9/11 as a domestic attack. Things of this nature are why Weekend Update exists.
  • Simon Rich as a Harlem Globetrotter, now that's a laugh
  • Teenage girl bankrobbers: If I could change anything in my life, it would be to insert a successful teenage bank robbery. Don't worry, guys, it would be an evil bank, duh.
  • My favorite guest was Nicholas Cage, who basically mumbled about nothing and periodically shouted, "I don't have time to explain this to you! Do you trust me!"
Next, the digital short featured Alicia Keys bootycalling the most repellent, foppish dorkus that Andy Samberg could play. It was a little like Shy Ronnie 2.0, but come on, where was that phat "shy Ronnayyyyy" track? It feels like a story's stirring in Samberg's mind - something in which a gorgeous, silky female singer falls for the nastiest, pimpliest, most heinously disgusting guy on earth. There's no ending yet, but it'll get there. Watching this process is like reading a John Irving novel.

The final two sketches were Scared Straight and a Barkley's Bank corporate video that fell away one minute in. Again, with the cues! It's like the person running cues is very sleepy and also totally wasted.

All in all, Barkley made my roommates laugh a lot, and that's pretty great. Here's what I laughed at:
"Houston, we have a... Arby's!"

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